Hong Kong Open: Enjoyment Reappears for ‘Danish Daddies’

On the eve of the VICTOR Hong Kong Open 2023 semifinals against Hendra Setiawan/Mohammad Ahsan, Anders Skaarup Rasmussen playfully billed it the ‘Battle of the Daddies’ in an Instagram story.

Rasmussen, himself a dad of two, was obviously making a cheeky reference to the Indonesians’ popular nickname, now that his partner Kim Astrup is also a father to a two-month-old son.

The Danes seemed in similar high-spirits during the warm-up and carried that energy onto the court, where they took 51 minutes to complete a 24-22 19-21 21-11 victory over the pair Rasmussen later saluted as “absolute legends of the game”.

That was during the post-match interview, when he revealed how their recent strong showings starting with the European Games gold in June in Tarnow, Poland, have brought back the joy in playing competitive badminton. Since Poland, the world No.9s have also won the Canada Open and finished World Championships silver medallists.

“The success in Calgary and Copenhagen took some pressure off us,” said the 34-year-old Rasmussen. “Having that base of victories now gives us some enjoyment even when we lose a first round, because we can look back and be encouraged. Luckily, it’s been in our favour since.”

Their newfound freedom has allowed them to express themselves better on court.

“We’ve been playing well the last couple of months and we are just building on that,” said Astrup. “We are trying to get the offence going as much as possible because that’s where the points are.”

The Danes attacked well from the backcourt.

No Danish men’s pair have added to the solitary Hong Kong title Jesper Helledie/Steen Fladberg won in 1985, with Mads Conrad-Petersen/Mads Pieler Kolding the latest to try without success in 2017 against Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo.

Another Indonesian pair could potentially prolong that interval but 2018 European champions Astrup/Rasmussen have a 3-2 head-to-head over final opponents Leo Rolly Carnando/Daniel Marthin.

Astrup is not overly concerned by the eventual outcome.

No longer burdened by expectations, he simply said: “Anything can happen in a final. Sometimes we are good, sometimes we are struggling. We will see.”

Results (Semifinals)

Order of play (Finals)


“We watched their match against Goh (Sze Fei)/(Nur) Izzuddin and identified the weaknesses in their game we could exploit to our advantage.” – Marthin on how they prepared for Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin

“If we keep thinking about the past, it will affect our current performances.” – Lee about their Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold

“In the decider, my speed wasn’t enough and that was the biggest reason I lost. This week I’m quite satisfied (with my progress), but next week is a new week (to start) again.”Ng Tze Yong after losing to Jonatan Christie

“Kenta played better but my performances these past two weeks have been improving. Hopefully it can be my motivation for the upcoming events.”Anthony Sinisuka Ginting

Lee/Wang lost 21-13 8-21 13-21.

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